Adobe Flash And IOS: The Best Of Friends, Sort Of

By 03:36 Sun, 11 Jul 2021 Comments

Unless we have all slipped into a different dimension it appears that some how Adobe Flash content will start to become available on all iOS devices (without jail-breaking, hacking or any other tomfoolery).

Apple's gigantic announcement regarding the coming of Final Cut X is playing second fiddle to Adobe's latest bombshell which is that they will be adding support for HyperText Transport Protocol (HTTP) Live Streaming (HLS) to their Flash Media Server.

HLS is in fact an Apple developed technology which they have used to stream live or pre-recorded video and audio content to Macs and iOS devices already. Apple have even submitted it to become an internet standard. Adobe's recent found support for this technology means companies and content providers who deal either primarily or exclusively in Flash based video content, (and there are a lot of them) will be able to acquire their content onto the millions of iOS devices already out there with no re-encoding or extra leg work required on their part.

Steve Jobs has been quoted poor mouthing Flash for some time now, "We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it." He also speaks of its poor battery performance and it being a poor mobile performer in general. Of course Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen didn't hold too kindly to these comments, calling them “patently false” and adding that “for every one of these accusations made, there is a proprietary lock-in” which has stopped Adobe from providing any solutions at the time.

The tumultuous past between these two makes this latest development all the more impressive, especially for Apple who stand to gain the most. Whilst not having to compromise or change the way they do things, they receive the benefit of a huge host of content now made available to them on some of the best selling gadgets of all time.

Adobe do already in fact run a similar server-side streaming technology called HDS (or HyperText Transport Protocol (HTTP) Dynamic Streaming) which can be found on many devices, providing they support Flash. Historically however, HLS has found wider utilize than HDS; for example Microsoft have been using HLS since 2009 as a means of getting Silverlight videos to play on iOS devices.

What has to be made clear is that HLS doesn't solve every Flash based distress in the world when it comes to iOS. HLS is nearly exclusively for the aforementioned pre-recorded and live video, as it still won't run with Flash banner ads, introductory site animations or games, these extra functions may become available with future incarnations of internet standards and as HyperText Markup Language (HTML) 5 evolves.

Truth be told, Apple don't appear to have suffered from their dramatic lack of Flash support thus far, and this looks to only add more strength to an already solid and well appreciated web content infrastructure.




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